Una Boccata d’Arte,
Belvedere Teatro Pietra, Sicily, Italy
Jun 24 – Sep 24, 2023
Opening: Jun 25, 6 pm
Curated by Giulia Monroy
Axis Mundi (literally Axis of the World) is the title of the project devised by Israeli artist Ella Littwitz for the village of Pollina, on the occasion of the fourth edition of Una Boccata d’Arte.
In the process of studying the territory, the meeting with Giulio Gelardi, “book-man”, historian, militant botanist and cultivator of manna, an ancient crop in the Madonie district, was invaluable.
A meeting between two Mediterranean inhabitants who in the study of nature find the ideal prism with which to explore the world and society.
Ella and Giulio speak the same language, though not the same idiom.
It is the language of the study of plants, of history, of the true relationship between earth and man, sky and soil. In this vision, the stories of the elopement of a Norman princess and an Arab vizier, Francesco Maurolico’s Renaissance observatory, the farmers of the Pollina countryside, the harvest of manna, the lightning that strikes the tower, become for the artist a set of suggestions linked by a common denominator.
Littwitz has designed a new obelisk to be placed in the highest location in the village, where the trigonometric point utilised to map the entire area once stood.
Axis Mundi thus becomes an instrument to capture and express the literature of the village of Pollina.
An attitude of observation is decisive in order to hear its voices and gather its memories.
The sculpture created is abstract and develops along a vertical line joining the earth to the sky. The lower part derives its shape from the “tube” of manna and folgorite, a glassy mass in cylindrical form, hollow inside, produced by the energy released by lightning on sandy ground. The upper part returns to a column, cylindrical, and points up at the sky. Like the mythological phenomenon from which it takes its name, Ella Littwitz’s sculpture Axis Mundi thus reaffirms the ontological interdependence between the plant and animal kingdoms, celestial phenomena and human beings.